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Richard Hobson-trained Fugitif to take on big-hitters on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham

All Areas > Sport > Horse Racing

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Thursday, 25th January 2024, 13:10

Trainer Richard Hobson Trainer Richard Hobson

Richard Hobson’s stable star Fugitif will run in the Clarence House Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.

It will be the first time that the nine-year-old has run in a Grade 1 race but trainer Hobson, who is based at Little Rissington, told The Local Answer today: “Fortune favours the brave. If you’re not in it, you can’t win it.”

Fugitif, who had also been entered for the Paddy Power Handicap Chase in a couple of days' time, is being targeted for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March and Hobson continued: “He’s a talented horse, we wanted him to have this run ahead of the Ryanair.”

Saturday’s race over two miles will see Fugitif, who likes it wet, line up against two big names – Jonbon and last year’s race winner Editeur Du Gite – in a field of just five runners.

The Nicky Henderson-trained star Jonbon will go off as a strong favourite ahead of Editeur Du Gite, who is trained by Gary Moore.

The other two horses in the field are the Joe Tizzard-trained Elixir Du Nutz, who like Fugitif is making his Grade 1 debut, and Nube Negra, who is trained by Dan Skelton and will be ridden by Jonjo O’Neill Jr.

Gavin Sheehan will be on board Fugitif and it was that combination who won the December Gold Cup over four-and-a-half miles in such thrilling style at Cheltenham last month, beating the Paul Nicholls-trained Il Ridoto by a short-head.

That was Hobson’s first winner at Cheltenham in more than 40 attempts although the 46-year-old has had numerous second-place finishes, including with Fugitif in the Magners Plate Handicap Chase at last year’s Cheltenham Festival.

The Clarence House Chase (2.25pm) is one of eight races on the Festival Trials Day card, with the first race getting under way at 12.05pm.

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